Information, please

Some of the best console programs don’t do much except offer up information … in abundance. Technically that makes them tools and not so much applications, at least from my limited viewpoint.

sox bills itself as the “Swiss Army knife of sound processing programs,” and whether or not it lives up to that billing is for you to decide.

It does usually come with a nifty tool though — soxi, which will give you a rundown on the information available for an audio file.

It’s not terribly verbose, although it does show many of the key points, and will probably suffice for most purposes.

If you want more detail though, mediainfo might be a better solution.

Quite a bit more, I think you’ll agree. And if you look close you can see the twofold (threefold? fourfold?) beauty of mediainfo — that it’s not limited to audio files. It’s smart enough to sense an image file too, and give the information it can about that.

Torrent files are terribly contorted, and if you want to find out what it’s doing or where it’s going, it’s a bit inconvenient. Or maybe I’m just too used to *nix-ish plain configuration files.

torrentinfo can help with that though, deftly carving through the knot and surrendering the important stuff.

And a bonus — color! ;)

The last one here is not so much a tool as a perl script, although it does an admirable job. This is boxinfo.

Don’t be disappointed. boxinfo sends its best work to an html file which, when opened, looks something like this.

Nicely formatted, easy to read, with everything from hardware details to environment variables, arranged in clean tables.

So what’s the use in all these tools? After all, cuing each one from the command line any time you run into a mystery file … well, that’s not very convenient.

Ah, grasshopper. You must learn to think a little more creatively than that. Imagine what wonders you can achieve if you tie these simple information tools into your favorite file manager. Click on a file, see all the information available about it. … :shock:

P.S.: A big thank-you to persea, who did 90 percent of the legwork for this, and suggested a three-way partnership between ranger, atool and mediainfo. But persea can explain that to us. … :mrgreen:

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2 Responses to “Information, please”


  1. 1 guest 2011/04/16 at 1:34 PM

    Hey i’m always amazed with the small nifty tools you find here on this site. Torrentinfo is something i’ve been looking for, even as simple as it may be, very useful!

    Thanks for the insight.

  2. 2 persea 2011/04/16 at 6:54 PM

    well now, I hardly think I deserve so much credit for merely pointing out what’s written in the ranger man pages. As for tying it all together, ranger itself does all that. All you have to do is install mediainfo and it uses it as default (but you can change that easily).

    In sum then, use ranger folks, it’s remarkable, simply the best file manager out there command line or otherwise (and I’ve used a lot). Also, quick tip for screen/tmux users. Get rid of fbida and use fim – it works perfectly with no need for “sudo opentvt” nonsense.


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